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U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement
The New York Times ^ | 3 Jul 2013 | RON NIXON

Posted on 07/03/2013 11:34:28 AM PDT by mandaladon

WASHINGTON — Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: A handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home. “Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word “confidential” was highlighted in green.

“It was a bit of a shock to see it,” said Mr. Pickering, who owns a small bookstore in Buffalo. More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Postal officials subsequently confirmed they were indeed tracking Mr. Pickering’s mail but told him nothing else.

As the world focuses on the high-tech spying of the National Security Agency, the misplaced card offers a rare glimpse inside the seemingly low-tech but prevalent snooping of the United States Postal Service.

Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, but that is only a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: echelon; nsa; projectechelon; snooping
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Together, the two programs show that snail mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail....................and we wonder why the Post Office is broke?
1 posted on 07/03/2013 11:34:28 AM PDT by mandaladon
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To: mandaladon

Not to mention that little room in the basement where demoted NSA hacks steam them open.


2 posted on 07/03/2013 11:37:18 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: mandaladon

ELF is a terrorist group. If he is/was a member I HOPE someone’s watching him.


3 posted on 07/03/2013 11:37:45 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Last Holiday season DHS was opening packages and taping them shut, except a few they left open.

From the article:
“Basically they are doing the same thing as the other programs, collecting the information on the outside of your mail, the metadata, if you will, of names, addresses, return addresses and postmark locations, which gives the government a pretty good map of your contacts, even if they aren’t reading the contents,” he said.


4 posted on 07/03/2013 11:41:01 AM PDT by Whenifhow
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To: mandaladon

I haven’t put a return address on an envelope since I found out about “closed cover” monitoring in the 1970’s.

Can’t find a reference with a quick search, but IIRC the Nixon administration was having the post office record return addresses on letters directed to certain recipients.

Never give a government access to ANY information you wouldn’t give to your bitterest enemy.


5 posted on 07/03/2013 11:41:46 AM PDT by null and void (Republicans create the tools of oppression, and the democrats gleefully use them!)
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To: null and void

Possible NJCT ping.


6 posted on 07/03/2013 11:43:32 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: null and void

bttt


7 posted on 07/03/2013 11:45:57 AM PDT by txhurl (RNC 'voter suppression': attempting to limit each voter to ONE vote!)
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To: DManA
ELF is a terrorist group.

No doubt.

If he is/was a member I HOPE someone’s watching him.

Without a warrant? Or do you care about the Fourth Amendment?

8 posted on 07/03/2013 11:46:22 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by central planning.)
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To: mandaladon

Shocking.


9 posted on 07/03/2013 11:47:19 AM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: null and void
I haven’t put a return address on an envelope since I found out about “closed cover” monitoring in the 1970’s.

If it is tax deductible, yes. Otherwise, no. If anything, put the address you are sending the mail to in the return spot, in case the handling equipment shucks the stamps off (has happened to me numerous times).

10 posted on 07/03/2013 11:47:47 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: mandaladon

And why we don’t trust the USPS. Not only are they lazy incompetent rude buffoons, they are also spies.


11 posted on 07/03/2013 11:48:11 AM PDT by Hulka
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To: Carry_Okie

Who said there is no warrant?


12 posted on 07/03/2013 11:50:07 AM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: DManA

>>ELF is a terrorist group. If he is/was a member I HOPE someone’s watching him.

So you are in favor of the government spying on citizens without warrants unless its against you?


13 posted on 07/03/2013 11:51:29 AM PDT by qwerty1234
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To: mandaladon

In the old days of Russia there used to be so many people listening to phone calls that the actual people talking had trouble hearing each other.

Sounds like were in a similar position, just with better technology.


14 posted on 07/03/2013 11:51:39 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: mylife; Carry_Okie

One of the requirements for a warrant is it needs to be present to the person who is being searched.

Yes you can have secret warrants but eventually they are required to tell you.


15 posted on 07/03/2013 11:52:47 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: mylife

>>Who said there is no warrant?

Who said there was?


16 posted on 07/03/2013 11:52:51 AM PDT by qwerty1234
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To: qwerty1234

My point is the poster assumes there was not.
Elf is a known terrorist group.

This was not Mr Kangaroo.


17 posted on 07/03/2013 11:54:17 AM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: qwerty1234

I have nothing against the government spying on known terrorists. That’s their job.

It is not their job to spy on every single American indiscriminately.


18 posted on 07/03/2013 11:55:26 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; EricTheRed_VocalMinority; ...

The list, Ping

Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list

http://www.nachumlist.com/


19 posted on 07/03/2013 11:55:48 AM PDT by Nachum (The Obama "List" at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: mandaladon
All USA mail was being scanned for Zip+4 codes since at least 2002.

Most “pre-sort” mail - like monthly bills and advertisements - is handled by sub-contractors, so it might not be digitally archived.

But most personal mail is coded by the USPS, and scanned on both sides, either by computer or by a remote CRT operator.

I know that gets archived for system analysis, but I don't know for how long.

20 posted on 07/03/2013 11:57:11 AM PDT by zeestephen
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To: Whenifhow

Well that cinches it. Mr. I.P. Freely of 1060 W. Addison, Chicago, IL is going on my Christmas Card List...


21 posted on 07/03/2013 11:57:12 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: mandaladon
The Postmaster General
22 posted on 07/03/2013 11:57:29 AM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: Smokin' Joe
If anything, put the address you are sending the mail to in the return spot,

Ahhhh....the old Free Franking Privileges scam. Put the recipient's address in the Return Address spot, put yours in the "to" spot, throw it in the mail with no postage and it gets "returned" to your recipient. I believe that one originated with Abby Hoffman in Steal This Book


23 posted on 07/03/2013 12:01:31 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: driftdiver

When you think about it, a perfect way to monitor someone is with a fellow who’s job it is to show up at your house 6 days a week.


24 posted on 07/03/2013 12:03:37 PM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

LOL!
They are watching you now!


25 posted on 07/03/2013 12:04:37 PM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: mandaladon

Did he keep that card?

This is no surprise. A government that monitors electronic communications is not going to let paper mail slip by.

There is no such thing as deleting a computer file. There are an unknown number of backups.

BTW, I don’t care.


26 posted on 07/03/2013 12:04:54 PM PDT by I want the USA back (If I Pi$$ed off just one liberal today my mission has been accomplished.)
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To: mandaladon

Are the new ugly print-on-demand stamps at the USPS self-service kiosks part of the surveillance system? One of the numbers seems to identify the kiosk. Is the other linked to the credit card number of the buyer?


27 posted on 07/03/2013 12:06:27 PM PDT by omega4412
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To: I want the USA back

I got a card right here from TSA.
“We rooted through your stuff”

*Signed some low level TSA guy*


28 posted on 07/03/2013 12:07:40 PM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: mandaladon

There are legal avenues to travel to circumvent this communism legally, Say I!

viz
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Express_Statutes

History[edit]

The United States Congress originally passed the PES in 1792, under powers granted it in the United States Constitution to “establish Post Offices and Post Roads”. The PES created a governmental monopoly on the carriage and delivery of letter mail, and ensured that this monopoly can be enforced. Today the USPS is empowered to suspend the PES, if it believes such a private postal service would be in the interests of the general public.

The PES consists of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1693–1696 and 39 U.S.C. §§ 601–606, implemented under 39 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 310 and 320. These forbid all carriage and delivery of letter mail by private organizations, except as described in the next section. The PES only cover “letters” and not other mailable items such as parcels or periodicals.

Exceptions[edit]

“Extremely urgent” letters[edit]

In 1979 the Postal Service authorized the delivery of extremely urgent letters outside the USPS; this has given rise to delivery services such as Federal Express and UPS’s express mail services. These letters must either cost at least the greater of $3 or twice what First Class (or Priority) mail service would cost, or they must be delivered within strict time limits or otherwise lose value. They must be marked “EXTREMELY URGENT”. Records of pick up and delivery must be maintained for Postal Service inspection if the time sensitive exception is being used.

Lawful private carriage[edit]

It is possible to set up a private mail delivery service known as “lawful private carriage” if the USPS postage is paid in addition to any private postage fee that is collected. Records must be maintained that such postage has been paid, and it must be affixed to the letter cover by U.S. stamps, meter imprints or through another method approved by the USPS; the postage must be canceled by the sender in ink; the date of mailing must be affixed in ink to the cover (either by sender or carrier); and the letter cannot be removed without defacing the cover from the envelope or other container in which the letter is sent. An agreement must be entered into with the Postal Service to conduct volume private carriage through the Chicago Rates and Classification Service Center which has national responsibility for the PES.

Occasional private mail delivery[edit]

One does not need to establish a private mail delivery service for the occasional commercial transport of a letter outside the mails so long as the rate which would have been due to the USPS is affixed in stamps, the stamps are cancelled in ink, and the date of receipt by the carrier or the transport of the letter, are noted thereon. All these privately carried letters can bear a private cancellation if the cancellation is done in ink; private cancellations are different from private overprints on postage stamps.

Special messenger services[edit]

There are limited exceptions for special messenger services which deliver less than twenty-five letters for an individual or company per occasion. In such case no postage need be paid or affixed to the letters; pick up and delivery can be from private residences and commercial businesses.

Free delivery[edit]

The delivery of letters without compensation and without the affixation or payment of any postage is allowed under 39 CFR 310.3(c) by third parties, and under 39 CFR 310.3(b) for one’s own letters which includes regular employees only delivering company mail. Thus, it is not a violation of the PES if one delivers a letter of one’s friend even without affixation of postage or if a company has one of its regular employees deliver mail that originates from the company to its customers. Compensation is considered to include barter and goodwill. Thus an individual or business who receives a benefit for the delivery of letters does not fall under such a free carriage exception. For example, buying a friend dinner in exchange for having him deliver a letter is not considered without compensation; in such a case one would be required to affix and cancel a sufficient amount of postage to the letter. Another example not falling under this exception would be a business that is carrying letters “free of charge” in the hopes of building business or incidental to some other delivery as an accommodation for its customer; this use would also require the affixation and cancellation of a sufficient amount of postage to be in compliance with the PES.

Cargo delivery[edit]

There is an exception for the delivery of what otherwise would be considered a letter if it is sent with cargo and the letter is somehow incidental to the ordering, delivery or shipping of the cargo [39 CFR 310.3(a)].

Other exceptions[edit]

Other exceptions to the PES include:
Letters that at some point during their pick-up or delivery had previously entered into the USPS mailstream, unless the letters are consolidated.
Letters addressed to specific persons that fall outside the purview of the PES.[citation needed]
Certain documents and objects that are not considered letters, even though containing a message.

===or1. send it on a cuneiform tablet marked as “Antique”
2. put coded messages in want ads of newspapers
3. send by semaphore or
4. smoke signals or
5. pigeons or
6. 3-d imprinted objects or
7. inside of fortune cookies
8. or on toilet paper
9. or a taxi service delivering passengers with tapes, dvd etc
10. or inside of a book as pages at book rate[cheap!]
11. or LOS tv camera or laser transmission with relay stations [12-22 miles per relay.
12. or by beer trucks containing messages in bottles
13. by individuals with duct-taped messages stuck to the inside wall of their cars and “stolen off’ by someone who came into the car. [non-delivery]
14. boxes of letters hand-carried onto trains as lap baggage
15. microstamping message on objects` interiors
16. put your address as the receiver and put the sender`s name on the top right hand corner and drop into mailbox with no postage


29 posted on 07/03/2013 12:10:00 PM PDT by bunkerhill7 (("The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower"-NY State Senator Kathleen A. Marchione.))
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To: mandaladon

LOL - RON NIXON was able to fine ONE liberal being snooped on when there’s millions of conservatives who have to deal with that indignity? The New York Times has found a new low.


30 posted on 07/03/2013 12:10:48 PM PDT by GOPJ ((MSNBC?)... liberal anger - - the privileged wheeze of entitled brats ... Greenfield)
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To: mandaladon

they are all in the new nsa data warehouse.


31 posted on 07/03/2013 12:13:46 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Be sure to include Mrs. Hugh Jass at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave...


32 posted on 07/03/2013 12:13:53 PM PDT by Old Sarge (My "KMA List" is growing daily...)
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To: mandaladon

Got fascism?

33 posted on 07/03/2013 12:19:04 PM PDT by SoFloFreeper
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To: zeestephen

Its supposed to be archived for 31 days tied to the fluorescent ID tag on the rear.

All mail that is collected via mailbox is scanned on the front and back, not for sinister purposes but for computer automation/OCR ability. An AFCS 200 machine can process nearly 30,000 pieces of mail/hour. It scans it, determines the facing direction, cancels the stamp, sprays an ID tag on the rear for remote encoding purposes if the address can’t be OCRed, if it is, a barcode is sprayed on the front.

ALL presort mail is only scanned on the front by the DBCS processing machines, again, for automated sorting purposes. A DBCS 6 machine is capable of processing mail at 40,000 pieces/hour with this capability. With both OCR and barcode reading ability.

The intention was never sinister, but for raw speed and efficiency. The (supposed) 31 day archival was to allow for lost or delayed mailpieces to reenter the system and find their destination more quickly without going through manual sorting.

Your friendly, neighborhood, rightwing postal worker, who is not a member of the jerkwad union.


34 posted on 07/03/2013 12:20:19 PM PDT by Crazieman (Are you naive enough to think VOTING will fix this entrenched system?)
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To: mandaladon

Funny they did not pick up all the IRS returns sent to the same address in NC that totaled over 4 million dollars. Seems Obama can’t even do that right.


35 posted on 07/03/2013 12:21:24 PM PDT by nclaurel
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To: Buckeye McFrog
Maybe. I didn't steal the book, and I wasn't about to buy it.

A vendor I do business with has their own address in the return spot on their envelopes for mailing payment. I just decided I liked that idea after several pieces of mail were returned to me--ones which had the newer (at the time) stick-on stamps on them when they went into the box, but came back without the stamps.

36 posted on 07/03/2013 12:22:07 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: Crazieman

Imagine that.


37 posted on 07/03/2013 12:22:27 PM PDT by mylife (Ted Cruz understands the law, and he does not fear the unlawful.)
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To: SoFloFreeper
You need to add another curved banner [a rocker/u-dip] with FOREVER written on it. (I.E. Yes we scan forever.)
38 posted on 07/03/2013 12:26:53 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Old Sarge

I thought that was Hugh Janus ?


39 posted on 07/03/2013 12:27:26 PM PDT by al baby (Hi Mom)
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To: mandaladon

Gee, I wonder why. He was a member of ELF.


40 posted on 07/03/2013 12:29:25 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: mylife

Yes, shocking.


41 posted on 07/03/2013 12:32:46 PM PDT by uncitizen (Our days are numbered)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Those reports of DHS opening packages did not involve the Post office, but other shipments.


42 posted on 07/03/2013 12:36:38 PM PDT by Whenifhow
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To: Buckeye McFrog

“Not to mention that little room in the basement where demoted NSA hacks steam them open.”

They cut them open. I was surprised to see wrong address National Day of Prayer invitations returned - all opened and apparently scrutinized.

In fact one was returned in late June that was placed in a envelope. It had been opened too.


43 posted on 07/03/2013 12:36:56 PM PDT by stars & stripes forever ((Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!))
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To: null and void
"Never give a government access to ANY information you wouldn’t give to your bitterest enemy."

Very wise advice!

44 posted on 07/03/2013 12:40:41 PM PDT by Buffalo Head (Illigitimi non carborundum)
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To: mylife
LOL! They are watching you now!

They've been watching me for a LOOOOONG time. When my kids were in elementary school I'd go up there and introduce myself by saying "Hi, I'm your Friendly Neighborhood Right-Wing Extremist!"


45 posted on 07/03/2013 12:59:34 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: freekitty

freekitty ~:” Gee, I wonder why. He was a member of ELF.”

Oh Sure ! They are after the ‘little people’,.. the ‘wee folk’ !!
The next thing you know they’ll be after the Leprechauns , and the woods fairies ..
You know what ? .. That’s racist , that’s what it is !
Citizens for Mordor unite !
Frodo ,..where are you now that we need you .. ? /s


46 posted on 07/03/2013 1:26:49 PM PDT by Tilted Irish Kilt (“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” - Ronald Reagan)
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To: mylife
Who said there is no warrant?

I didn't say that there was or wasn't. The post to which I was responding was without qualification on that topic. I was inquiring as to whether he approved of surveillance against ELF without one as the current tendency of the Feds is to operate without proper authorization, which was the allusion in the topic of the thread.

47 posted on 07/03/2013 1:47:03 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by central planning.)
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To: bunkerhill7

You are a wealth of information!


48 posted on 07/03/2013 2:00:13 PM PDT by Excellence (9/11 was an act of faith.)
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To: mandaladon

The word, ‘Behemoth’ comes to mind. Good point about the Post Office’s being broke.


49 posted on 07/03/2013 3:04:26 PM PDT by OldNewYork (Biden '13. Impeach now.)
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To: mandaladon

“he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front”

He should be locked up for that alone.


50 posted on 07/03/2013 3:06:54 PM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (Just wanted to say I hope you great NSA folks are enjoying my posts here.)
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